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Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2018 Mar 15;4:2333721418760122. doi: 10.1177/2333721418760122. eCollection 2018 Jan-Dec.

Mediator Effect of Balance Problems on Association Between Grip Strength and Falls in Older Adults: Results From the KORA-Age Study.

Author information

1
University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tirol, Austria.
2
Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria.
3
Technical University of Munich, Germany.
4
Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.
5
Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.
6
University of Tromsø, Norway.
7
University Center for Health Sciences at the Klinikum Augsburg, Germany.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the association between grip strength and history of falls among older individuals, and to assess the possible mediating effect of balance problems on this relationship. Method: Data originate from KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg)-Age Study of 808 individuals (65 years and above). Follow-up assessment occurred 3 years later. Results: The risk of falls within the last 12 months was reduced on average by 3% (odds ratio [OR] 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.97 [0.94, 0.99]; p value = .026) per 1-kg increase in maximum grip strength after adjusting for age and gender. There was a trend toward an indirect effect of grip strength through the mediator variable balance problems (p value = .043). Discussion: Increased muscular strength is associated with a reduced risk of falls in older age after adjustment for age and gender. The association is partially mediated by balance problems. Thus, in older adults, muscle-strengthening exercises may decrease the risk of falling.

KEYWORDS:

aged; balance; falls; grip strength

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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